Tag Archives: states

Prison Labor to Fight Wildfires

Fact: Nearly half of those fighting the Bully Fire in California are inmates – 900 out of approximately 2,000 firefighters.

Fact: The inmates get paid $2 per day for their efforts.

Fact: Across the state of California, there are approximately 4,000 inmate firefighters.

Fact: California profits from their efforts to the tune of $100 million per year.

Source: “California Leans Heavily on Thousands of Inmate Firefighters,” KQED News


Over Half of U.S. Prisoners Are Parents

Fact: 52% of state inmates and 63% of federal inmates are parents to a child under 18 years old.

Fact: An estimated 1.7 million minors have one or both parents in prison – approximately 2% of the U.S. youth population. This does not include children with parents who have served time or are currently under probation or parole.

Fact: Since 1991, parents of minor children held in state or federal facilities has increased 79%.

Source: Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children, Bureau of Justice Statistics

Growth of Civil Asset Forfeiture

Fact: In many states and in all federal enforcement agencies, police may seize items believed to be used in committing a crime or bought with the profits of a crime. This applies to felonies and some misdemeanors.

Fact: Police make the initial decision at the time of the arrest, but they can keep the items regardless of whether the suspect is charged or convicted.

Fact: Police use or spend the items to make purchases and fund salaries for the department.

Fact: In 2003, the federal government seized $479 million worth of property. In 2012, it seized $4.18 billion, a nearly 1000% increase.

Source: Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Star-Telegram

Life Without Parole in Louisiana

Fact: There are at least 175 inmates serving life without parole (LWOP) for nonviolent crimes in Louisiana. This includes:

  • Vincent Cushinello, who is serving LWOP for slashing tires in 2001;
  • Anthony Kelly, sentenced to LWOP for possession of 32 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute in 1999, at age 25;
  • Fate Vincent Winslow, sentenced to LWOP for acting as a go-between in the sale of two small bags of marijuana, worth $10 in total, to an undercover police officer when he was homeless.

Fact: The 175 inmates will cost the taxpayers of Louisiana nearly $100 million over the span of their incarceration.

Source: Three Recommendations for Sentencing Reform in Louisiana; Reason Foundation

“Indeterminate” Solitary Confinement in America

Fact: At least 3,808 California prisoners are serving time in solitary confinement on an “indeterminate sentence.” They do not know when, or if, they will ever be released.

Fact: More than half of California’s solitary confinement prisoners serve at least 5 years. One has been in solitary for more than 42 years.

Fact: Californian prisoners are not allowed a lawyer at internal “validation” hearings to determine whether or not they should be moved to solitary confinement. Department data shows that since 2005, 25 validations have been rejected out of more than 6,300 cases.

Source: Mother Jones, Solitary Confinement, Shane Bauer